|Lorene Scafaria was born and raised in New Jersey, where she began as an actor and improvisational comedian. A playwright by nature, she made the move to Los Angeles almost four years ago to pursue screenwriting and set up her first co-written project LEGEND HAS IT at Revolution Studios. She has since sold her original script THE MIGHTY FLYNN to Warner Independent, with producer David Heyman of HARRY POTTER fame, and is currently adapting the book NICK & NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST for the Weitz Brothers and Focus Features. She is repped by Cliff Roberts at the William Morris Agency and Doug Johnson at Management 360.
Where are you from and where did you grow up?
I’m from a small suburban town in New Jersey called Holmdel. It’s home to the Garden State Arts Center, or as it is presently known, The PNC Bank Arts Center, and that’s about it. I lived in the same house until I went off to college, and then moved back into that same house right after college... until I could finally make the escape to New York City. That’s the predictable pattern for almost anyone growing up in Jersey. There’s something to living in the shadows of New York City that makes people strive to be creative, strive to "get out" and make a name for themselves. I feel like everyone I’ve met in Los Angeles is originally from, or did some time, in Jersey, or perhaps we seek each other out with our little yellow license plates that seem to be the last thing to become Californian.
When did you become first interested in screenwriting?
I was always interested in writing. My mother said that she knew when I was really sick because it was the only time I didn’t have a pen in my hand. It was around, I want to say, fourth grade, that there was this reading contest in my county called Book-It. The student in my grade who read the most books and did some kind of reports on them would win a prize each month... a gift certificate to Pizza Hut. For some reason, this was the golden ticket. So, every month I would "invent" a book... the title, the author’s name, the characters, the story... and do a fake report about the book, always being sure not to recommend it too highly on the off chance anybody would seek the fake book out. I was the Pizza Hut winner every month. Took Grandma for some deep dish and felt like a hero. At some point, lying became storytelling. And around high school, when I was interested in acting, I began to write plays along with fiction. I put up my first play when I was seventeen in Red Bank, New Jersey, at an art house movie theater that’s now a Shoe Parade. Directing and producing became a new passion, and since I mainly enjoyed writing characters and dialogue, playwriting was the natural segue.
Where did you go to college? Did you ever study film/writing?
I went to Lafayette College in Pennsylvania for a solid one year. It was a real university, where you went to football games and hung out on the quad, and even though they didn’t have a theater major, the plays we were in had an actual budget. It was an incredible year of studying, but at thirty thousand a year, I guess you get what you pay for. The college experience ended abruptly, when we could no longer afford the tuition. So, I transferred to a state school... Montclair State University... because I just couldn’t drag myself to Rutgers, and Montclair was the only other sensible choice for their theatre program. Unfortunately, you really do get what you pay for. Montclair was a commuter’s school, with a campus built on a parking lot. And once I realized that my credits wouldn’t transfer if I switched majors, making my four-year education even longer, I stuck with English, with a writing concentration, and made theatre my minor. I never took a screenwriting course, but plenty of playwriting, fiction, and non-fiction.